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Just returned - overview: long!

United Kingdom
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for Luxor
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Just returned - overview: long!

I'm going to have to wait until my computer tower is repaired to post my photos (what a great welcome home!) so here is a summary of what I noticed in our 9 days in Luxor (we were 5 days in Aswan too):

- Uncomfortable Monarch flight, they try to sell the £2.50 headphones before admitting there is no film, £2 for 'Hello' & very limited duty free etc. We always pack headphones, but not really worth it for old TV repeats. Take a good book, your own snacks & a fleece.

- in Arrivals the Visas are still £10 or $15 from the banks but the tour reps line the barrier to hide the banks & there are public announcements to tell you to go to your tour operators' desk! one company had its desk immediately on the right inside the door. Queue at the bank was very small due to the 'human shield'.

- we booked our own transfer with ReallifeEgypt, so avoided the tour bus delay that always happens to us. Other regular visitors fround the taxi drivers demands excessive this year, & had to pay far more than usual.

- review of El Luxor to follow, once I'm back online properly. Sad to say that even the 3rd room we saw was dirty - standards have slipped badly since last we stayed there pre-takeover. Slept a total of 3 nights there, but I was glad we'd booked 4 nights in the Aswan Movenpick & then we caved in & moved into the Winter Pavillion.

Reviews to follow, but I need to watch the dates carefully to avoid the 1 year rule for the Pavillion.

Combining cash & Tesco vouchers we spent a total of £1079 on flights & B&B accommodation for the fortnight. Transfers & return travel to Aswan by car & train cost LE670.

- very few visitors compared to last year & many seemed to stick to the hotels. The 'hassle' from taxi/caleche/felucca touts didn't seem as intense as we'd have thought given the approach of Ramadan & the lack of customers. The scrf ladies are still by the Winter Palace: LE10 each & hard to say no to. I ended up with 2 extras, even though I came with enough!

- The Corniche has been totally dug up in the area past the museum, so traffic diverts inland. Didn't get a close look, couldn't find out when the rest is scheduled to go. Did find the Lower Corniche shopping centre opposite the Winter Palace was quieter than usual, some shops are moving & the internet cafe was not as cared for as in previous years. Very slow & poor connections - not sure if that was down to poor maintenance or poor electricity supply.

- West bank was illuminated twice while we were there, but the knock-on effect is that there are power cuts or power restrictions that affect everybody. Not funny when the air-con disappears during a hot afternoon. Lots of knock-on effects eg the Lantern seems to have a drill when the lights go off: one man stands by the door & a lamp is hung up by the till!

- Strange weather: very hot but windless with a misty fine dust in the air that made everything feel gritty. Very odd at night, almost foggy & in the morning we couldn't see the West Bank from the Palace steps! Took a few days to clear - Pavilion desk clerk said he'd never seen anything like it before. Did hear that there'd been a big storm in Aswan, maybe the dust was connected to that, but it wasn't the 'dust storm' that we've seen before.

- the Oasis cafe is moving to near the St Joseph hotel as that end of town seems 'dead', it'll be a shame to lose the lovely building but business is business & the new place will be a bit bigger. The English church is still standing, but is clearly in the way of what Mr DD calls the 'missing sphinx road'.

We ate at the Oasis, the Lantern, Maximes, Puddleducks, Nile Valley hotel, Tutti Frutti & the Etap's Champollion - reviews to follow. Missed Sofra as it was still closed.

- replaced mango icecream with Snacktime's mango milkshake ... lush & only LE10.5! Gave cakes fron Twinky to the desk clerks. Took Arkwrigt's picnics to the airport - will definitely do that again!

- shopped at Habiba, both Fair trade centres, new Aboudi,a dusty little fixed price place between Habiba & the older fair Trade place, the souk (irresistable), Aisha & also bought loofahs from the man on Station St (just past the post office, sitting on the grass: LE10 for big size, LE20 for the huge ones).

- visited Roy & Shuroy tombs, Seti 1 temple, Carter's dusty house (NO hologram for us!), Al Kab for the two chapels, Philae, Nubia museum, Botanic Island & Aswan souk.

- I managed to get ill (I have a chemically-lowered immune system to counteract the RA) & this had a significant effect on my mobility this time: very frustrating as I couldn't do many of the sites on my list. MUST come back....!

- the tatty shopping centre by the WP has been razed & even the Holy Man's Tomb has disappeared, so there is now a very long line of caleches from the Corniche to Sindbad's: the smell of ammonia is eye-watering. There is now a chainlink wire fence stretching diagonally across the rubble, & the wall has been breached between what was Aboudis & the former-NWP that is now a building site. I assume this wire marks the edge of the 'new' hotel site.

No doubt I'll remember something else, but enough for now I think!

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Hi DD

Glad to hear you are back home safely, although it seems no time at all since you left. Time has passed very quickly indeed!! I am looking forward to seeing your photos once you have everything back up and running again as it sounds like there are many changes since I last visited and, as I won't get back till next year, I am thinking that I just won't recognise the place!!

Bedfordshire
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2. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Glad to hear you are back safe and had a good time, When we went in May most days the visability over the west bank was very limited due to the dust or sand.

Just booked our flights this morning with Easyjet, yesterday it was £311, today £355 ahh.

Phil

Bolton, United...
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3. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Glad you had what sounds to have been a great return visit and thanks for the heads up on things to look out for when I'm back there the week after next.

Caerphilly, United...
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4. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Thanks for all your efforts DD. Appreciate all the info. How much work was going on with the "missing Sphinx road"?

Lambsie

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5. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

We didn't see much of the work going on partly because we only passed it going to & from the airport or at night.

Mr DD says they are 'missing sphinx' because there's going to be an awful lot of creation/re-creation to do 'off-stage', most of the avenue is just hole iyswim.

Guernsey, Channel...
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6. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Welcome home DD - and thanks for update - the whole Luxor scenario appears to be on the down turn at the mo, but did like your personal upbeat input.

Weather bit is quite bizarre, some while ago we had a load of red dust deposited on parked cars on/near the coast, and so forth, and various pundits reckoned it was Sahara dust (?) although I doubt there is a connection. Look forward to your pics.

Best wishes

Guernsey, Channel...
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7. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Hey Lambsie

May I but in here and suggest that you visit Suzie's latest review; on this topic, she has sent a load of pics detailing work in progress for the Sphinx excavations. However, they seem to have advanced a lot further judging by DD's latest info.

Best wishes.

England, United...
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8. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Thanks DD for the update on the ever changing face of Luxor.

Arundel, United...
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9. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

Thanks for bringing us up to date and for your blow by blow reports of the Pavilion update.

jak717
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10. Re: Just returned - overview: long!

West bank has been lit up every night since we got here and looks lovely although I wondered why the frequent power cuts! It hit breakfast yesterday and no air con in restaurant so bit too hot. But hey all part of the holiday experience lol